Swieqi mayor Noel Muscat has described the Planning Authority’s decision to approve an outside development zone hotel in Wied Ghomor as a “blinking shame.”
Taking to his Facebook page, an incensed Muscat said, “A permit for the construction of a guest house overlooking Wied Ghomor which was flatly refused three weeks ago was today given the green light!!”
Earlier on Wednesday, the Planning Authority approved the development of the five-floor guesthouse in Wied Ghomor despite previously stating it would reject the application because it was in breach of the rural policy that bans developments which have an adverse impact on important landscape features.
“What a blinking shame. I am still speechless!! PA has ridiculed its own rules, ridiculed professionals, environmentalists and local councils. What a mess,” Muscat wrote.
The Swieqi local council and residents were taken by surprise as the the Planning Authority’s planning commission made a U-turn and approved modified plans submitted a day before Wednesday’s hearing.
The site of the proposed 23-room hotel, located outside the building zone in St Julian’s was previously occupied by a garage.
The local council which was among the objectors protested that it was not aware of the modified plans and was not given time to oppose the latest application.
“We really are going mad. We will definitely consider appealing this decision. This is one of those days when you consider quitting but by doing so we will make the life of these crooks easier. So we will fight on,” Muscat said.
Only two members of the planning commission – architect Simon Saliba and Carmel Caruana – were present during the first meeting which rejected the application. The commission’s chairperson, Elizabeth Ellul, was not present in the first meeting, but in Wednesday’s meeting she was one of two members who voted in favour of the development.